Peter Case

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What did you learn in the forty years since the Nerves played Max’s Kansas City?

I learned how to cure the spins.

I learned how to split a quarter in half.

I learned how to tie my shoes while running.

I learned 37 names for the police.

(the fuzz, newts, the royals, the peelers,
rocket boys, black & whites, G-men
boys-in-blue, bobbies, john law, rangers
gumshoes, the gang, officer krupke
constable, the chaperones, mounties
catchpole, beagles, roundsman, feds
mace-bearer, tip staves, beadles, coppers
blue coats, bull, flatfoot, gendarmes, shamus,
dick, pigs, flattie, Dogberry, New York’s finest
gestapo & The Man.)

names for G-O-N-E:

• cheese it! vamoose! head for the hills!
scram—make like a tree—jam—vanish
alacazam! dive—scat! git—be gone!
get along! away with you! get a hot dog!
on your way! get out clear out! allez-vous-en
shoo! “stand not on the order of your going
but go at once” “go and hang yourself”
buzz off! skidoo—skedaddle—make yourself
scarce—get lost! take a walk! take a hike!
go chase yourself—go play in the traffic—
shove off—step off—stand off—push off
take a powder—blow—& I mean, split!

• what kind of magic could I bring
to you, who knows all the answers?


illustrious, glorious, brilliant
radiant, resplendent, bright
shining, charismatic, glamorous
luminous numinous
& alacazam

I learned how to cook an egg.

I learned to make tacos.

I learned a recipe for chicken and greens
that I no longer make.

I learned the difference between flattery and praise.

I learnt that flattery is poison.

I learned to have a pocket for keys, a place
for my wallet.

—not to bum cigarettes from the gang on the corner.

what I learned

• to try and see what you can do for others.

•to ask a question and then listen.

•how to play in a big place for a lot of people,
without fear.

•the value of prayer

•to work & play with the people who love me.

•that a stitch in time really does save nine, etc…

“don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters”

“always stay alone”

“the slowest tempo you can play a song at, without
it falling apart, that’s the tempo”

go see the elderly greats

•if you’re comfortable somewhere, don’t be in too
great a hurry to leave.

•be prepared!

•as you get older, all of your previous photos
will begin to look good.

•if you want something done correctly, do it yourself.

•the grimmer the ghost, the milque-er the toast.

•I should’ve worked out more

•we’re younger now than we’ll ever be

•don’t be too good.


“the most important thing about art is finishing it”

“there’s two kinds of managers: the one’s who love you and
the ones who know what they’re doing. (you need both in one.)

•don’t go out so much, stay home & work more.

•don’t lose phone numbers.

“if you have two lines, use the stronger line second.”


•pay attention

•listen to the messages you are being offered

•when you think of something good to do, always do it.

•he who seeks to exalt himself will be humbled

•you’ve got to reap what you sow

•one day at a time

•the Father, Son & the Holy Ghost

•God is a woman.

“the sound inside your mind is the first sound you can sing.”


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